Ever start a diet or feel like you’re on a good track with eating well only to discover that the food you’ve been depending on to boost your energy, drop your calories, or make you happy is suddenly “bad” for you? Well, there’s a correlation when it comes to oral health. You may have a habit of drinking or eating the following foods, and though they might be good for your body, they’re definitely not doing your teeth any favors.
Sippity Sip Sip: Teetotal Your Tea
Tea time is a custom among the British, and the Brits do tend to fall into an unfortunate stereotype of having bad teeth. True? We can’t say for sure but we can say this: Certain teas will stain your teeth. Black tea devotees in particular can find themselves with more stains than drinkers of, say, green tea. Herbal tea drinkers too – while gaining the antioxidants and fat-burning properties of a cuppa – can have their teeth showing the effects of their tea habit.
But all teas drunk in excess and not cleaned off the teeth afterward mean you’re far more likely to have discolored teeth. Both black tea and herbal varieties of tea caused erosion, according to a study in The Journal of Dentistry. What about coffee drinkers? Oenophiles of reds? A study in The European Journal of Dentistry found that tea, not java or wine, is the main culprit when it comes to tooth stains.
Fruity Flavors: Moderate Your Citrus
Acids, of course, are one of the biggest culprits of enamel erosion. While your mouth will make its own cavity-causing acids depending on the food you eat and drink and the level of preventive care you practice, citrus fruits – while giving you a good jolt of vitamins – are doing your teeth no favors.
Devotees of flavored waters, beware as well: Even if you think you’re merely squeezing a lemon in every glass of water you drink throughout the day for a little extra flavor, what you’re actually doing is getting in the way of that water aiding in washing away acids and bacteria already in your mouth. Sipping on a drink all day like soda is bad enough because it’s a constant sugar bath for your mouth, but “healthy” drinks too can cause problems. General Dentistry reported that lemon juice caused the most damage to enamel, followed by grapefruit juice and orange juice.
While we’re talking about fruit, nix dried fruit as an all-day munchie too. Just like taffy or caramel, dried fruit is sticky – and that means it’s clinging to your teeth for dear life. The sugar content is also alarming. Fresh fruit is your safest – and least adherent – kind of fruit. If you must indulge in the dried stuff, toss some dried apricots in your salad or dried cranberries in your oatmeal. You produce more saliva when you eat a whole meal rather than snacking and that can help naturally wash away some of the foods that could be stuck to your teeth.
Ice, Ice Baby: Get the Chills Somewhere Else
Dieters look for ways to keep their feelings of hunger at bay, and chomping down on something that has no calories but still provides the satisfaction of chewing might seem like the ideal solution. So many people opt for ice cubes or ice chips. It’s all good if you’re letting these babies melt in your mouth, but the folks who crunch on ice are the ones who are potentially in for some oral health trouble.
If you can’t break the habit of biting down on ice, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to chips, cracks, or other damage to your enamel, fillings, or cosmetic dentistry. Drink water that’s clear to clean your teeth throughout the day – and if you must have chewing action, find yourself some sugarless gum. It’s not harmful to your teeth and it helps increase saliva production which is great for your oral health.
Contact Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to schedule your consultation today and learn more about the foods that are hurting your teeth.